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Yes, my friends, beach season is in full-swing, and try though you might to protect yourself from the sweltering heat (and you most definitely should try), protecting your smartphone is a different story. After all, sunscreen might be good at protecting your skin, but it's considerably less effective when it comes to things that aren't skin.
Here are some basic but easy to overlook tips for keeping your iPhone or Android cool this summer.
1. Avoid leaving your phone in direct sunlight for long periods of time
It might seem obvious, but your smartphone is just as susceptible to sunbeams as you are. While you might be searching for the sunniest spot on the beach to soak up some rays, your phone is definitely hoping to stay in the shade.
Along with sunny beaches, hot, unventilated cars are also a problem area for smartphones. Avoid keeping your phone on the dashboard, seat, or armrest of your car—even if you only intend to be away from it for a short amount of time.
2. Toggle your display's brightness to reduce battery strain
Your phone's display puts a ton of stress on the battery, so if your goal is to avoid the dreaded overheating alert, the first thing you should do is manually set its brightness to the lowest level you're willing to put up with.
This is obviously easier said than done when it's a hot one and you're dealing with seven inches from the midday sun, but what you'll lose in screen visibility you'll make up for in battery conservation. Remember: A cooled-off battery makes for a cooled-off smartphone.
In addition, if your phone features an automatic brightness setting, you'll need to toggle it off, otherwise your phone will boost the brightness back up the second it detects a change in ambient light. Leaving your phone's brightness settings set to "automatic" might seem like a good way to economize the power consumption of your phone's display, but if your goal is to keep your phone as cool as a cucumber, you shouldn't leave your phone's brightness settings up to the phone's software.
3. Identify and close power-hungry apps
Buried in the settings menus of iPhones and contemporary Android phones is a tool you should familiarize yourself with if you haven't already: the battery use tool.
Typically found in a phone's battery settings submenu, the battery use tool is a way for you to visualize and track how your phone's battery is allocating its resources. By shutting down big, power-hungry apps, you'll reduce your battery's overall workload—the smaller the workload, the cooler the battery.
Typically, larger, more work-intensive apps (like web browsers and mobile games, for example) demand more battery power than "slimmer" apps, like the one you use to send text messages. Apps that refresh in the background like, Facebook and Twitter, are also more likely to put a strain on your battery, and, in turn, raise your phone's temperature.
4. Take your phone out of its protective case
Removing your phone from its case is a hard sell for those who fear the unexpected, but one of the quickest ways to cool off a blistering battery is to give your sweaty smartphone some room to breathe.
If you're planning on being out and about in the heat with your phone, consider giving your phone extended breaks from its stifling protective case. Much like people, smartphones often appreciate being naked and free while the heat index rises.
5. Don't put your phone in the fridge or freezer to cool it off
If your phone's on the fritz thanks to the heat, your first impulse might be to stick it in the fridge or the freezer. This, my friends, is actually a bad thing that you should not do.
While the freezer treatment might succeed in dropping your phone's internal temperature, you run the risk of shocking your phone's hardware, either due to moisture or the extreme swing in temperature.
6. Get a fan for your phone
For the fastest and most effective way to cool your phone down in a pinch, you should get a dedicated phone fan. They're mostly meant to keep your phone from running hot while playing graphics-heavy games, but you could use it to cool off after a hot day, too.
Razer's Phone Cooler Chroma works great because it doesn't require any additional case or attachments. It latches onto the back of your iPhone using MagSafe, so it's easy to attach and remove. In our testing, it managed to cool the device by about 13 F in just 30 seconds, though you may need to go a bit longer if your phone's running particularly hot.
If you have an Android phone, there's a model for that, too. It doesn't attach via magnets like the MagSafe model, instead opting for an adjustable clamp that can hold phones of nearly any size. Both models have the ability to show different arrangements of RGB lights while the fan spins, if you like to put on a show.
It works great, but it's also not very practical. It lacks a battery, so you'll have to have it plugged into a power source any time you need to cool your phone down. Your best bet is to carry around an external battery just in case, but that plus the phone cooler adds a decent amount of bulk to your bag.